Let's talk about Cycle 2.
For those of you who are new let me recap what I'm doing here.
The Daiyuverse is shorthand for a serial urban fantasy universe I am creating here on Patreon. The Daiyuverse begins in Seattle with some key folks.
Daiyu Marie Jackson- She is our main character. She is a Queer Black witch who is growing up in the verse.
Her family is made up of-
Papa Crow, Father Crow, Waylon Ames and some other folks.
In cycle 1, we meet Daiyu at a critical time in her life. Her Mama (and presumed last living relative) has passed away and she's having to learn to live in the house she grew up in without her Mother. Father Crow is just her spirtual sibling, Papa Crow is her Godfather and caretaker.
We spend some time with Daiyu and her little family, we get a sense that something is developing, we get a glimpse of The Institute which will come into play later on. One thing I really wanted to establish in Cycle 1 is that Daiyu and her family have a foundation to work from. I really wanted to explore the way magic works in the Seattle I am creating.
Literarily speaking, in Cycle 1 I played with some things both structurally and stylistically. I really wanted to use the classic I have always enjoyed smart use of The Chorus in literature and in the verse they have a developing and specific role. In this case the Chorus is both a part of the story and apart from the story. The Chorus is the reader's extra set of eyes and ears.
They say stuff like:
"It is natural to wonder who we are. We are not who but what. We are the energies of the ones gone before. We were the protectors, the witches, the ones shunned as demons. We walked the world with one foot in other worlds and our hearts set upon goals unknown to our brothers and sisters. We are the ones who knew and saw the evil come and who fought it.
We are the silent guides, walking in lock step with the new ones born moment by moment. We watch, we learn and when one of the newly born has the right set of powers and perceptions, they hear us. They will join us."
They don't have a huge role yet, but I really wanted to introduce them so that when we meet a variance of them in Cycle 2, there is a call back to this.
One of my aims with the Daiyuverse is to create a magical system around Seattle and other spots that I can expand on forever basically. Ultimately, in say five years we'll have ALL of this material that is interconnected but not necessarily sequential. So not really a traditional book series.
The one thing that all of the sf/f/h books that are my favorite have in common is that their worlds are so rich, if I was the boss of the authors I'd just get new stories from those worlds all the time. From The Dark Tower to Bone Street Rhumba by Daniel Jose Older, or The Inheritance Trilogy by N.K Jemisin I am SUCH a little greedy greedy lover of their worlds, I just want more.
When I decided to do Patreon, I had this idea. What if I took this thing I already had the bones of, and just started building. The Daiyuverse is where I play as a creator. Some of it is messy and weird, kind of not great but it's really what I want to be doing and that is amazing.
The other big part of what is happening with the 'Verse is that, Patrons are literally sitting on my shoulder while I work. Y'all are seeing the raw and grossness and sweating and muttering that is a real first draft.
Lots of folks have asked me why would I EVER let folks see that let alone pay money to see it.
I'm not really doing it this way for y'all. I am but for real, I'm doing it for baby me because I learn best by doing and seeing.
If you just tell me how to bake a cake I'm gonna fuck it up.
Show me and let me do it, I might get the hang of it.
Coming up writing, I never saw first drafts. I didn't know that writers fuck up and make mistakes until I was into my 20s I thought I just sucked.
As I get older, I find I'm so into mistakes. I love them because as I make them and spot them in my work, I can say well shit I fuckered that right on up, recognize it, figure out how to deal with it (or not) and keep it pushing.
I am zero percent ashamed of growing as an artist and it makes me very happy to bring y'all along for the ride.
Now, hopefully after the dust settles with my partner and I moving, I'll get ahead on the rewrite of cycle 1 and be able to offer that as well.
So what's coming?
Cycle 2 (I am doing cycles in about 50K words a piece or so) I had intentions. I wanted to try my hand at a youngish adult queer romance magic. It is turning into a road trip learn to witch for Daiyu and an intro into some new characters and families.
For March, y'all hold on to your pants.
We're challenging some toxic Whiteness from the perspective of being in a relationship with someone it is coming from. We're getting into some Voodoo. We're going to meet another Magical Black Girl who has been a challenge for me to write. We're visiting Portland and getting into found family.
We're also going to start exploring how the Crows became the Crows. This subject matter is hard for me to write. The Crows were actually inspired by a family I knew as a youngster and their Grandfather. I spent a lot of time with him, listening to his stories and lies. The things that have stuck with me after all these years are how he talked about his Father having survived boarding schools.
The thing that inspired the Crows from that story is the pain of being so forcibly disconnected from your roots and culture and the struggle of getting it back. I've struggled with staying in my lane. I will not write over or for Indigenous people. That is not my place here.
I have included these characters and their stories because the locations and things I am getting into in these stories, need them. I have been doing continual research to support how I am writing them, I have a plan to after Cycle 2 is done, looking into a sensitivity reader. I'm not doing sensitivity reads now because if I fuck up, you are going to see it and I'm going to talk about why and how and what I do/did to fix it.
Where does the name Daiyu come from? Well so as not to spoil a major plot point, but here are some clues. The name stuck with me from reading a book called The Golden Days. The character came from a short story I wrote as a writing exercise. I did that years ago and had it put away then, one Nanowrimo I tried to make it happen. I wrote a lot (some of that material is serving as reference material for me) and held on to it.
And now we're here.
Below find a taste of Cycle 2 and if you're into magical blackness, fantasy and some real shit feel free to join us. I don't do tiers, if you've got a buck to spare a month that is amazing.
Josh and Anna sat together in one of the small trendy coffee shops he squirmed in the hard tiny chair. The demitasse cup in his hand felt like it belonged to a doll and there were dreamcatchers painted on the wall.
"I don't feel comfortable here."
Anna smiled at him.
"How come? Is it the chair? Would you rather sit over there on one of those benches?"
He shook his head, he gestured.
"It just isn't really my kind of place. I'd rather get coffee at Harry's or that deli downtown I like."
It wasn't about that of course. Things had been tense between them for a while. There were too many moments like that one when, he wanted to tell her how disrespectful something was but couldn't figure out how to articulate it. There was something else, sometimes after spending a few days with her in a row, his magic felt off.
He didn’t know precisely how to put a finger on it. He thought of it like wearing an uncomfortable sweater. It wasn't painful or frightening, he just felt not right. It was weird but, as he listened to her talk about a yoga class she had led and something about taking a reiki class he relaxed. She was harmless, he put it down to his own neurosis and let the discomfort fade into the background.
"Daiyu's girlfriend is doing drag at a party at pink house this weekend, you want to go?"
Anna pursed her lips.
"Pink house? Isn't that for gay people?"
he shrugged and finished his espresso.
"This is a fundraiser so everyone is invited. It is kinda like a rent party to help out some people in the community with food and rent and shit. There's going to be a drag show, a game show and probably some strippers."
"So people pay to go to this to pay for rent?"